In the previous academic year, students complained about the many glitches that they were experiencing in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) application system. This year, significant changes are said to be in the works to improve the experience for applicants.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Minister Dr. Blade Nzimande confirmed that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) funding application cycle for the 2024 academic years opened on 28 September 2024 and will close 31 January 2024.
In a media briefing, Nzimande had announced that Nsfas application system has improved, and questions asked on this system have also been made simpler.
According to reports, the application system has been redesigned to be more user friendly, making it similar to other platforms that prospective applicants are accustomed to such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
In an interview, South African Union of Students (SAUS) spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa said:
As a union, we are yet to establish exactly the extent to which the usability of the system has been improved.
It is said that applicants will also be allowed to pause and continue at a later stage without restarting the whole process from scratch.
Dlanjwa has explained that this will be done by its members across the country, gathering feedback as the union prepares to meet up with Nsfas.
In the previous academic year, students and student leaders were complaining about a range of issues that disadvantaged students when they were applying for funding.
According to reports, the system suffered glitches and was down due to it not being able to handle the traffic.
During this time, some students had also pointed out that the system would sometimes block them out before having submitted certain supplementary documents.
The student union has seeked clarity on a number of aspects of the outreach campaign that will aim at assisting applicants without internet access and proper gadgets to submit their funding application.